Celtic captain Callum McGregor called out for penalty incident vs Livingston

By David Walton

November 2, 2021

Celtic captain Callum McGregor has been bizarrely called out by ex-Hoops striker Frank McAvennie for his role in the penalty miss on Saturday.

Giorgos Giakoumakis spurned a glorious spot-kick opportunity in the last minute that would’ve sent Celtic to the top of the Premiership. In the end, we had to settle for a 0-0 draw against Livingston and Max Stryjek pulled off the save.

It came as a major surprise to Celtic fans to see the Greek striker step up. Josip Juranovic had been taking them previously and had already netted 2 out of 2. Ange Postecoglou confirmed after the game that Giakoumakis was the designated penalty taker when on the pitch.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Yet McAvennie believes McGregor should’ve played a more active role in handing the penalty to Juranovic.

As quoted by the Herald, the former Celtic star said: “As a fully paid-up member of the Centre Forwards Society, I do get that Postecoglou was wanting Giakoumakis to get his goal tally up.

“But it was a lot of pressure to put on a boy who hasn’t taken a penalty at Celtic at that stage in the game. For that reason, I would have given it to Juranovic.

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“I think Callum McGregor, the captain, should have stepped in, sorted it, taken it away from Giakoumakis and said: ‘No, Juranovic is taking it’. As I say, it seems strange to change it when Juranovic has done so well.”

Callum McGregor shouldn’t shoulder any blame for Celtic penalty miss

McGregor has actually already spoken about the situation too. He stated post-match that the decision was made pre-match to put Giorgos on the penalties [Celtic TV]. Therefore, it’s harsh to expect anything more from Callum during the game.

We have to take the Celtic players and staff at their word here. If they’re telling us it was agreed that Giakoumakis would take the penalties, then that’s what we have to believe. After all, he had a fine record in the Netherlands when on them last season [Transfermarkt].

What was McGregor honestly supposed to do in that situation? Run up to Giakoumakis and snatch the ball out of his hands? How silly would that have made him look had Juranovic then missed the penalty.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

There’s this notion that the Croatian would definitely had scored it. Nothing like that is guaranteed in football. He could very well have blazed it off target or saw his shot smothered by Stryjek.

McGregor had no reason to believe Giakoumakis was going to miss. Therefore, taking all of this into consideration, it’s silly to pin any blame on him. We’re all brilliant decision-makers in hindsight.

It’ll be interesting to see who’s now on the penalties after Saturday of course. Whoever it is, we need some consistency in that particular department.

In other news, The key message coming out of the Celtic dressing room since Livingston draw